As women, we tend to take on a lot of ‘stuff’ – and sometimes we put ourselves at the back of the queue (for necessity we argue), but that shouldn’t be the case. I thought I’d share with you my list of ‘rules’ for keeping tabs on my health and I hope that even just a couple of my ‘rules’ will benefit you as much as they help me!
- Laugh – Laughter really is the best stress or blues-buster. It makes a big difference if you can surround yourself with people who can make you laugh and just help you chill out a little. Our brain needs a flush of these feel-good hormones regularly.
- Don’t skip breakfast – OK, I wake up automatically ravenous so this is an easy one for me. For those that don’t, please don’t skip breakfast. You need it to start your engine properly, and without that you’ll probably feel a bit flat, off-colour (even nauseous), and your body will switch from burning mode to storage mode.
- Don’t overdo the calcium – Bone-density is another issue that we really need to keep our eyes on. Definitely follow your doctor’s advice in terms of how much calcium to take – but don’t overdo it. Apart from making very expensive pee, excessive calcium intake can cause kidney stones and all sorts of other problems.
- Eat the rainbow – All those beautiful, brightly coloured fruits and veggies are trying to catch your attention – and for good reason. With colour comes antioxidants, so make sure you’re stocking up and eating your full.
- Sleep – This one really speaks for itself, and your body will guide you as to how many hours are right for you – but make sure you get enough. That’s the time your body does all it’s housework, repair work and decluttering, and it becomes a grumpy cow if this time is interrupted!
- Floss – Flossing gets to those hard-to-reach places that plain ole brushing can’t. Before I start sounding like a television ad, brushing without flossing is a bit like washing only one armpit after a workout. Rather take those few extra seconds. Make it a part of your routine.
- Deep breaths – Rushing around, or sometimes just concentrating deeply on a task or a deadline, our breathing often reverts to a very shallow tempo. We need those deep breaths to open up our lungs, get a huge dose of rejuvenating oxygen, and expel all the carbon-dioxide that sinks and lurks to the bottom of our lungs.
- Check things out – Keep a tabs on your health, and any changes to your body or how you feel. Do a quick body audit from time to time – visual check for any changes to your skin, physical check for any lumps and bumps or swelling, mental checklist of any changes to appetite, energy, bathroom habits, any aches and pains… You are in the driver’s seat in terms of being able to pick up any signals early enough to get them checked out by a doctor before anything too serious happens. Don’t neglect that.
- Avoid fad diets – If eating only brussels-sprouts for 3 weeks made a celebrity thin, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. (Probably made her so ill she couldn’t keep anything down…!) Enjoy a balanced diet that gives you everything your body needs. And for weight-loss, exercise is so important. If you can develop a well-tuned and fast engine, you won’t need to deprive yourself by trying every diet that’s in the magazines.
- Don’t be an island – As some of us ladies here say ‘Find your Tribe, love them hard’. There’s a lot we have to work on and do all on our own, but it’s crucial to have a support system. Find your cheerleaders, find your constructive critics, the shoulders, the ears, the people who are just there. And always be open to more of that. We can never have a big enough tribe. The word is full of beautiful souls. Embrace those that resonate with yours.
- Don’t diagnose with Google – Even an ingrown toenail can be fatal if you google enough. Please don’t. Discuss your concerns with a professional, even if it’s a nurse at the health-store clinic. The end.
- Sweat – I can’t stress the importance of exercise, and good, gentle load-bearing daily exercise is vital, especially with our sedentary lifestyles. However, try and get your heart-rate up when you do. The best way to do this is to exercise until you sweat. This will jump-start your metabolism, and in the long-run make you more energetic (and fit) – but please check with your medical professional if you are in any doubt as to how suitable this is for you.
- Add some weights – When you start your cardio journey, it’s important to balance this by adding some weight-training to your routine. You need to make sure you strengthen the muscles that will support your joints and bones. Balance is key. Even something simple as using some (full) bean cans and doing lifts with those is a good start. This is something you CAN google, if you want some DIY options for weight-training outside a gym. 🙂
- Know your numbers, then set goals – Blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar are numbers we should know as well as our own mobile number. Get yours checked, find out what the ideal number is for your age (from your doctor, not google!), and then set yourself a challenge to try and get closer to the ideal number if you are not there yet. This can mostly be done by lifestyle changes (eating well, exercising regularly, resting and relaxing). It’s important to undertake this challenge so that you can avoid having to go onto chronic medication later on in life.
- Cook – This has nothing to do with the ‘women should be in the kitchen’ nonsense. I know men that are better cooks than me! But if you truly want to KNOW what’s in your food, and control your own balanced diet, then cooking is the best way to do this.
- Supplements – Now that all said and done, make sure you do take a good vitamin or supplement when you need to. Support your immune system during those busy times, stressful times of change, or when the seasons change and everyone around you starts to splutter. Try as you might, you will probably not get everything your body needs in your diet, so keep some supplements on hand.
- Be mindful – Last, but not least, make some time to look inwards and watch what is or isn’t working for you on a physical, emotional or spiritual level as ultimately, these all affect your health.
Be kind to yourself. x
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